Julia Roberts Cancels Public Appearances After Half Sister Nancy Motes' Death

Celebrity News Feb. 11, 2014 AT 12:30PM
Julia Roberts and younger sister Nancy Motes Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty; Glen McCurtayne/Coleman-Rayner

Julia Roberts' 2014 awards season has been suddenly marred by tragedy. As previously reported, the Oscar winner's half-sister, Nancy Motes, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in an L.A. residence on Sunday, Feb. 9. As the August: Osage County actress, 45, copes with the loss, she canceled scheduled engagements at the Academy Awards' Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills on Monday as well as a Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance later that day.

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"The family is both shocked and devastated," Roberts' family (which also includes her older brother Eric Roberts and his daughter, Emma Roberts) said in a statement. The body of Motes, a production assistant, was scheduled to be examined on Monday. Lieutenant Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner told Us Weekly that Motes was found in a bathtub, with prescription and non-prescription drugs found on the scene. "We're taking it as a suicide, not a drowning," Corral said.

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Motes told the New York Daily News that her relationship with her most famous sibling was "a work in progress . . . I love Julia absolutely, and I have no doubt she loves me."

Nonetheless, Motes alluded to an ongoing family rift via Twitter last October.

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"It's a shame when you get more support from strangers than you do from your family. I can't wait to officially belong to another family!" she wrote. "A family that loves & accepts me. Doesn't throw shade my way. Forgives me for my mistakes & loves me for who I am."

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